The Harker Summer Forensics Institute, which begins Aug. 2 and runs through Aug. 13, offers students in grades 9-12 the opportunity to prepare for the 2010-2011 tournament season under the tutelage of top debate instructors. Students will learn important aspects of competitive debate in small lab sessions, where they learn about different debate events and research their topics.
The institute will focus on three types of debate events. Public forum debate, modeled after the CNN show “Crossfire,” focuses on current events and employs public persuasion as well as the ability to support an argument with evidence. The Lincoln-Douglas debate features individual students debating on ethics and values issues, while policy debate features teams of two students debating each other on political action in the United States.
New to this year’s Forensics Institute is the Forensics Experience, a course that is separated into two weeks, one focusing on student congressional debate and another on individual speech events.
Congressional debate will have students acting as members of the United States Congress as they debate on passing pieces of legislation. The individual speech events portion will allow students to learn more about individual events, making it ideal for students interested in learning more about competitive speech or simply learning basic public speech skills.
Instructors at the Forensics Institute will include Harker debate teacher Carol Green, who directs public forum debate and whose students have won competitions at the Victory Briefs International, the James Logan Invitational, the Public Forum Challenge and the Laird Lewis Invitation in 2010, and the Tournament of Champions in 2009.
Jonathan Peele, another Harker debate teacher, coached seven students to individual state championships, while 34 qualified for the National Forensic League national championship tournament. In 2005, his team at East Chapel Hill High School in North Carolina was named one of just 16 National Schools of Excellence in Debate.
Natalie Sintek’s numerous achievements include being named the 2004 National Catholic Forensic League national dramatic performance champion, the 2004 NFL national champion in humorous interpretation and earning eight world championships as a member of the Western Kentucky University forensics team.
Sean Mumper, currently an AP government teacher at Presentation High School, has coached teams to late rounds of every national debate tournament in the US. His successes as a competitor include local and national successes in policy debate, an appearance in the final round of the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence and being on the top-ranked college debate team in the country.
Doug Dennis, director of forensics at Mountain View’s Saint Francis High School, has been debating and coaching for nearly 25 years. As a coach, his teams have gone to elimination rounds of every major national policy tournament. In 2001, his team won the NCFL national championship and reached the semifinals in 2000 and 2009.